U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Virginia Palmer has given assurances that the embassy is working on expediting visa appointments for students at the EducationUSA College Fair 2022 held at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra.
The development comes as the Consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Accra grapples to resolve what it calls “large COVID-induced appointment backlogs and high demand for all visa classes.”
Presently, normal visa application slots are only available for July- August 2024 for prospective visa applicants.
But non-immigrant applicants such as students, temporary workers, and travellers in need of emergency medical care are allowed to apply for expedited action on their applications to be able to meet the deadline for their appointments in the USA.
But many applicants have been denied visa application interviews or denied visas over the past year and months despite being initially approved for an expedited appointment.
Responding to a question from yours truly (Erasmus Kwaw) on why the situation persists at the opening ceremony of the EducationUSA College Fair 2022 at the Labadi Beach Hotel on Friday, 16th September 2022, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Virginia Palmer said her outfit is doing its best for students despite the challenges they currently face.
“They respond, (but) you don’t get it instantly. Those are adjudicated too because unfortunately there is some fraud involved in the request for expedited appointments,” she said.
She added that the Embassy would “bend over backward” for genuine prospective applicants.
“And so the embassy looks at those. But if you are applying to a university that is known to us and you’ve got your papers in order, then we will bend over backwards to make sure you get an appointment in time before the school class starts.
The American Ambassador sought to give an assurance her outfit is taking further action to open up spaces for visa appointments overall.
“And in terms of the backlog (cases) overall because I know there is a lot of interest in that, I have taken every officer with a consular commission and put them to work on the visa line, and the consular section has opened up lots of appointments for more non-immigrant visas.”
“So I want to encourage people that need to go to the United States to go on ahead and apply. There is also a programme called the interview waiver programme. If you already had a visa and the visa expired, you don’t need to come back to the embassy. You can send it in my mail and those renewals are pretty straightforward.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of prospective undergraduate and graduate applicants as well as guardians and parents took part in the event which was held again after the Covid situation in 2020.
The fair was made all the more important because of the presence of about 40 American Universities whose representatives were eager to field questions from the participants as well as provide brochures and contact cards.
EDUSA Fair officials also held15 minute break-out sessions involving presentations and also fielding questions from the participants.
EducationUSA is a U.S. Government-sponsored network of 450 centers in 170 countries around the globe. According to the organisers, EDUSA is “mandated to provide comprehensive, current, accurate and impartial information on U.S. higher education, and guide qualified individuals in order to be successful applicants.”
NOTE: Liquid Sports Ghana understands some student athletes from Ghana were recently denied visas to pursue academic studies in the USA. A host of Ghana’s national athletes have taken up scholarships in US Colleges and Universities in the past. Most of our current national team athletes are based in the USA. With the assurances provided by the embassy in these challenging times, it is hoped the affected students would be another consideration when the window opens for fresh applications.